ISSN (Print): 1574-888X
ISSN (Online): 2212-3946
Volume 15, 8 Issues, 2020
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ISSN (Print): 1574-888X
ISSN (Online): 2212-3946
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Special Issue Submission
Reflection on scientist’s journey toward and beyond Stem Cells
Guest Editor(s): Shengwen Calvin Li, Philip Hitchins Schwartz
Submit Abstract via Email
Potential Application of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Craniofacial Reconstruction
Guest Editor(s): Yunfeng Lin
Bench to Bedside: Ligament and Tendon Tissue Engineering
Guest Editor(s): Wasim Khan
(Hacettepe University Institute of Health Sciences, Department of Stem Cell Sciences, Center for Stem Cell Research and Development, Ankara, Turkey.)
Has contributed: “From Stem Cell Biology to The Treatment of Lung Diseases.”
4 Abstract Ahead of Print are available electronically
38 Articles Ahead of Print are available electronically
Bone homeostasis is tightly regulated by bone stem cells (monocyte-macrophage lineage cells of hematopoietic origin),
which is the bone-resorbing activity of osteoclasts and bone-forming activity of osteoblasts. Plant-derived compounds medicine
has a long history and are widely used in traditional clinical practice to treat bone disease aimed to regulate above two cells.
These traditional medical treating methods are characterized by better cost-effectiveness and less side effects to commercial
pharmaceutical products. Although a number of plant-derived agents have been reported possess potential effects in treating
bone diseases, still, we facing a long way to go for clarifying the therapeutic efficacies of each compound and relevant molecular
mechanisms, underlying especially bone stem cells.
Six reviews from experts in the field of medical research and clinical therapeutic practice, covering the front edge of the
bone homeostasis and studies about naturally occurring compounds, included in the current thematic issue. Zhao et al.,  reviewed
the effects of histone deacetylases (HDAC) inhibitors on the differentiation of stem cells in bone damage repairing and
regeneration. In this review, authors mainly focused on the usage and achievements of the deacetylase inhibitors in stem cell
differentiation studies and their prospects in repair of bone tissue defects, which offered a good reference to promote stem cell
therapy in clinical application.
Yang et al.,  provided a systematic review and meta-analysis of the therapeutic role of puerarin in preventing ovariectomy
(OVX)-induced murine postmenopausal osteoporosis model. In this review, authors adopted the Systematic Review Centre
for Laboratory Animal Experimentation (SYRCLE) tool for animal study methodological quality assessment.
Cao et al.,  reviewed the compound, piceatannol, for its biological activities in various diseases included muscular skeleton
disorders. Besides that, authors also reviewed the relevant cellular regulating mechanisms and cellular signaling cascades.
Wang et al.,  reviewed an active agent, triptolide for its specific role in treating osteolysis and other common diseases,
such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Besides that authors further conducted an analysis of the toxicity of this agent and
further study speculations.
Zhang et al.,  reviewed studies for the biological functions of myricitrin and its anti-inflammatory role in bone loss.
Wen et al.,  briefly reviewed the functions and activities of Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) in treating osteoporosis and
neuro injuries, which will provide new ideas for the study of osteoporosis and neuro injuries.
With the increasing interest in shifting the “blinded use” of natural compounds for direct treating bone diseases paradigm in
traditional medical practices to “one-compound-one-target” therapy or “compounds-targets” therapy, therapeutic benefits for
various musculoskeletal diseases have been achieved. Therefore, we hope that this thematic issue will be beneficial for the vast
readers and may serve as a good source of literature for scholars in the field of each relevant field.
Several approaches have been adopted to study cancer stem cells from several tissues including solid tumors. To study cancer
stem cells, there are some basic concepts of stem cells biology that researchers have to considerer, for example “selfrenewal
capacity” [1, 2], however, some scientists take this functional characteristic for granted in their experiments obviating
the main feature of stem cells. In this issue, we provided an overview of several topics of cancer stem cells from solid tumors,
and how researchers have been studying them. In general, surface proteins have been used to identify and isolate cancer stem
cells from several tissues. Moreover, it is interesting to discuss the role of CD24 , CD44 , CD49 , Lgr5 , CD133 
and others proteins that have been used as common stem cell markers. Most of these cancer stem cell markers have a relevant
influence to maintain the stemness of cancer stem cells, such as ALDH, an enzyme that is involved in aldehydes-derived drug
resistance, nevertheless ALDH also has a role to maintain stemness  by an unknown mechanism. So far, cancer stem cells
study requires knowing exactly how these cells work, considering their phenotype and their basic functional roles in tumor
growth. Also, microenvironment and cellular niche influence the cancer stem cells behavior by cell signaling pathways including
cell adhesion molecule interactions such as CD49, an integrin that interacts with tumor microenvironment ligands promoting
cell moving, migration and also metastasis .
Likewise, the role of sex hormones in Hormone-regulated tumors, like breast cancer has been poorly studied and the results
are still controversial, due to in part, by the difference in sex hormone concentration tested, estrogen and progesterone receptor
expression, as well as the experimental models that have been used . Further, some authors reviewed the relevant function
of cancer stem cells in metastatic disease. Finally, a targeted approach is also used in cancer stem cell field by pointing out the
self-renewal and drug resistance mechanisms to eliminate these high tumorigenic cells . In summary, this thematic issue
can give to the reader a critic overview about cancer stem cells in some solid tumors.
Unrevealed biology, apart from the difficult nomenclature , places progenitor cells of mesodermal tissues, mesenchymal
stem cells – “MSC” in the focus of stem cell debate. Although cell compartments in many adult tissues have stem cell potential,
it seems that “MSC” are not ubiquitous populations, requiring a refinement of “MSC” concept. It follows from this that we are
still not able to wholly define the nature of primary niche and “MSC” response to homeostatic or stress signals. Even the most
important, per se “MSC” features, which should clearly separate them from other cell populations in certain tissue and reveal
whether and how “MSC” possess mechanisms to keep their stem cell autonomy (if exists)  apart from microenvironmental
factors, are still not clarified. Thus, it is paramount to keep on working to deconvolute the molecular, cellular and spatial composition
of primary “MSC” niche, stemness and lineage restriction. This Special Issue brings several manuscripts describing
“MSC” in the context of their identification and in vitro evaluated properties which could be clinically important. The manuscripts
addressed several topics: developmental position and phenotype, immunomodulatory properties and engineering strategies
designed to upscale differentiation capacity of “MSC”. Elucidation of “MSC” phenotype is difficult due to overlapping
markers for different cell populations and non-existing indispensable correlation of these markers and stem cell potential, where
the Authors thoroughly described position of “MSC” in bone marrow, referring to skeletal stem cells  and highly remodeling
tissue of endometrium, considering “MSC” as rare cells . Poggi & Zocchi  critically reviewed immunomodulatory functions
of “MSC”, pointing the questionable perception of in vitro propagated “MSC” features, where cultured population contains
low frequency of real stem cells. Aware of different flaws following “MSC“ in vitro assay, researchers pragmatically attempt
to find functions of “MSC” with potential clinical relevance. Immunomodulatory activities as well as (pre)clinical utility
of “MSC” reported in amniotic fluid were described . Engineering strategies, including manipulation of “MSC” microenvironment,
were found to be an important approach for dental , bone and cartilage tissues reconstruction (Mesure et al.). Indeed,
results obtained in in vivo studies, only if rigorously interpreted, may help to perceive whether observed effects have anything
in common with the primary “MSC” features and activities.
Stem cells interpret signals from their microenvironment while simultaneously modifying the niche through secreting factors
and exerting mechanical forces. Many soluble stem cell cues have been determined over the past century, but in the past
decade, our molecular understanding of mechanobiology has advanced to explain how passive and active forces induce similar
signaling cascades that drive self-renewal, migration, differentiation or a combination of these outcomes. All these findings
directly affected the further molecular understanding of relevant diseases and treatment. Therefore, improvements in understanding
of these signaling pathways cascades will greatly improve the knowledge not only in stem cell culture methods, materials
and biophysical tools development, but also for improving the knowledge of relevant diseases developing and treatment.
Here, we in this special theme issue, we try to organize experts in this fields to summarize recent research findings of signaling
pathways involved in stem cell differentiation and relevant therapy, then publish a series of review articles and research papers
in order to offer perspective on ongoing challenges.
Four reviews included from the experts in the field of medical research and clinical therapeutic practice covering the cutoff
point of the stem cell and relevant signaling pathways study on the orthopedics, oncology, neurobiology and ophthalmology.
Wang et al.  reviewed the progress of genetic tools for specific lineage tracing with emphasis on their applications in
investigating the stem cell niche signals. In this review, three most commonly used genetic lineage tracing strategies, namely:
one-component, two-component, and three-component genetic tools have been systematically reviewed according to the development
of technique, particularly the advantages and disadvantages of individual methods and further focus on their application
in the niche signaling studies of stem cell fields.
Zhu et al.  reviewed the potential of stem cells in the treatment of adult patients with osteonecrosis of femoral head
(ONFH). With the rise of interdisciplinary, stem cell therapy combined with platelet-rich plasma therapy, gene therapy or other
methods are gradually attracted the attention of researchers. In this review, they summarize the current advances in stem cell
therapy for ONFH, as well as the problems and challenges, which may provide a reference for further research.
Growing evidence support that NF-κB plays a major role in oncogenesis as well as its well-known function in the regulation of
immune responses and inflammation in stem cell study. Therefore, Zhu et al.  conducted a review of the diverse molecular
mechanisms which the NF-κB pathway is constitutively activated in different types of human cancers and the potential role of
various oncogenic genes regulated by this transcription factor in cancer development and progression. They also discussed the
spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) mediates signal transduction downstream of a variety of transmembrane receptors including classical
immune-receptors like the B-cell receptor (BCR), which activate the inflammasome and NF-κB-mediated transcription of
chemokines and cytokines in presence of pathogens would be discussed as well. The highlight of this review article is to summarize
the classic and novel signaling pathways involved NF-κB and Syk signaling and then raise some possibilities for cancer therapy.
Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs), with its capacity for multi-directional differentiation, low immunogenicity
and high portability, which made BMSCs serve as ideal “seed cells” in ophthalmological disease therapy. Ma et al.  examined
recent literature concerning the potential application of BMSCs for the treatment of ophthalmological disease, which includes
the activity of transplanted cells, migration and homing of BMSCs, immuno-modulatory and anti-inflammatory effects
of BMSCs and signaling involved. Each aspect is complementary to the others and together these aspects promoted further understanding
for the potential use of BMSCs in treating ophthalmological diseases.
We hope that this thematic issue will be beneficial for the vast readers and may serve as a good source of literature for the
scholars in the field of each relevant fields.
During the last few years, tissue engineering has widely propagated forwards like a tidal wave,
providing a new concept for the use of stem cells, small molecules and biomaterials. In contrast
to classic tissue repair approaches, the newly proposed strategies aim to induce new functional
tissues, rather than simply implanting replacement of alloplastic or allogenic parts. This special
issue from Current Stem Cell Research & Therapy examines the regeneration of damaged
tissues driven by different new strategies using stem cells or small molecules. This special issue
also includes articles presenting complex biological processes required to restore functionality
of tissue when the regulatory function changes. It invites high-quality review papers describing
the design of novel multifunctional therapeutic systems that facilitate tissue regeneration across
different tissue types
Articular cartilage possesses no blood vessels, lymphatic vessels and neural tubes. Thus, the ability of articular cartilage to
repair itself is very limited once it is damaged [1, 2]. Articular cartilage defects is a common clinical disease, but difficult to
repair. Many strategies have been applied to enhance the cartilage defect repair with the ultimate aim which can fill the defects
with the same morphological and functional repaired cartilage tissue . The widely employed strategies in clinic were periosteal
and perichondral tissue grafting, osteochondral allografting, chondrogenic cell transplantation, and subchondral drilling
. However, the immune rejection reaction and high cost of medical expense made the patients disappointed. Fortunately, the
development of tissue engineering, which is a cell-based repair biomaterial engineering brings hope.
The special issue aimed at the stem cells and scaffolds in cartilage tissue engineering. The content included the three main
factors for cartilage tissue engineering, namely stem cells, scaffolds and stimulating factors. It not only provided the latest ideas
and methods to design and fabricate the cartilage repair scaffolds, but also offer the helpful reference for the research of cartilage
tissue engineering. In detail, different sources of stem cells made an important influence on the cartilage repair and they
were widely applied in cartilage tissue engineering. Numerous researches using stem cells with chondrogenic potential (such as
Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Adipose Stem Cells, etc) have suggested that the different scaffolds can support the proteoglycancontaining
tissues and formation of type II collagen [5, 6]. Many physical (such as nanomaterials, stiffness, pores, etc) cues can
drive stem cell differentiation into chondrogenic phenotype [7-9]. The mainly studied scaffolds in cartilage tissue engineering
were hydrogel and electrospun fibers [10-12]. The formation mechanism, preparation techniques, and the influence on stem
cells of these scaffolds were introduced systematically. The stem cells, scaffolds and stimulating factors had intrinsic relationships
and influence each other, once they were applied in tissue engineering. In summary, the special issue presented a deep
view of the research progress in cartilage tissue engineering.
Bio-immunotherapy is an emerging area for treatment of cancers and autoimmune diseases, which are
difficult to cure with current regimens. Bio-immunotherapy includes the methods used to elicit, reactivate
or reverse immune responses, promote the repairs of diseased tissues and restore the functions of cells,
tissues or organs by applying biological responder modifiers (BRMs), cytokines and/or growth factors,
immune cells, or stem cells. The aim of the thematic issue is to historically review the various types of the
methods for bio-immunotherapy in research or clinical practice, reveal advantages and disadvantages for
each approach, evaluate their potential efficacy for treatment of cancers or autoimmune diseases, and
prospectively propose potential strategies to overcoming the limitations of current bio-immunotherapy
approaches. The thematic issue will provide a comprehensive update on bio-immunotherapy beneficially
for research scientists and clinical physicians.
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